King of Teas
White tea is superior in the amount of antioxidants it contains in comparison to all other teas. It will typically contain slightly higher levels of caffeine, lower levels of fluoride and has a more mild and less grassy flavor. It’s a big winner all the way around.
White tea contains a large amount of polyphenol antioxidants, the most important of which are a category called catechins. ECGC or epigallocatechin gallate is thought to be the most important catechin as it is the most powerful antioxidant isolated from the tea leaf. White tea provides these big health benefits:
- Cardio-Protective | Lowers cholesterol, reduces plaque formation
- Cancer Prevention | Clinically demonstrated to inhibit some forms of cancer
- Anti-Inflammatory | Shown to alleviate rheumatism / arthritis symptoms
- Anti-Aging | Antioxidants neutralize free-radicals that damage DNA
- Brain-Protective | Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s
Same Plant, Different Results
White tea is derived from the same plant leaves that black tea, green tea, oolong tea and pu erh tea is – camillia sinensis. Interesting right? White tea leaves are picked at a younger age and therefore contain more antioxidants. Black tea is made from mature plant leaves, green tea from freshly opened leaves and white tea from buds and very early leaves. Oolong tea and pu erh tea are made with different variations of leaf maturation, drying, aging and processing.
Why is it Named White Tea?
The early buds on the camillia sinensis plant have silver to whitish thread-like hairs that tend to make the bud or leaf look white at this early stage of development. Also, the tea itself is a very pale yellow and in comparison to its brothers it is the lightest or “whitest.”
The White Tea Process
After the leaves are picked they are allowed to wither in natural sunlight and then are given a little bit of processing to keep any further oxidation to take place. The young buds/leaves yield the highest concentration of antioxidants and the minimal processing keeps them largely intact, more so than green tea or black tea.
Fluoride Content & Tea
The plant that white tea is derived from (camillia sinensis) tends to absorb more fluoride than other plants. The increasing awareness of fluoride as a negative contributor to our health, rather than a positive one, has raised concerns about consuming it through drinking tea. The older the leaves, the more fluoride that is absorbed and incorporated into the leaves.
White tea, being made from very young leaves/buds, has the lowest fluoride of all the teas. This is excellent news for all those trying to eliminate or minimize all sources of fluoride in their diet while still hoping to take advantage of the numerous health benefits from the camillia sinensis tea leaf.